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2006 Prius clock spring (spiral cable) repair

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by mswtoyota, Dec 19, 2014.

  1. mswtoyota

    mswtoyota Member

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    So both defrost buttons, the recirculate, and the info button on the right hand side of the steering wheel have never worked since I bought the car used a few years ago. After taking the steering wheel apart, I see that buttons are just providing different resistance values back to the car. After searching this awesome site (I do know how to search!), I found I wasn't alone:
    Suddenly, some buttons on steering wheel mounted controls aren't working! Any ideas? | PriusChat
    Exact same buttons. Hmmm. I decided to try and fix it myself. Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of removing the clock spring, but you can see some here:
    Can I avoid replacing my failing clockspring (spiral cable)? | PriusChat
    Yes, you must remove the airbag and the steering wheel to get to it. No, I did not disconnect any batteries, and I might have waited about 30 seconds before I had the airbag off. I do use a wrist strap to ground to the car though, but all the airbag connectors are self shorting anyway.
    Sorry that some of the pictures are horrible.

    To get the clock spring apart, you first have to release 4 plastic tabs in the center of it.
    CIMG2986.JPG
    Then the center part comes out.
    CIMG2988.JPG
    After removing the outer ring (held with more plastic clips), the cables are free.
    CIMG2984.JPG

    Here is a close up of the plastic tabs that need to be released to get it apart:
    CIMG2985.JPG And here is the bad spot in the cable:
    CIMG2979.JPG
    As you can see (above), the 4th and 5th wires from the bottom do not have continuity. This is only 1 of the 2 ribbon cables in the clock spring. I think the 2 larger traces at the top of the cable are for one of the squib circuits for the airbag. The second ribbon cable (with no damage, thankfully) looks identical, so I assume the larger traces on it are for the secondary squib circuit on the airbag as well.
    CIMG2981.JPG
    To repair, I had to scrape off the insulation until I found good copper to solder to (I've already done the lower one in the shot above) and carefully solder new wire to bridge the gap in the original traces.
    CIMG2989.JPG
    I took some wire I had (I'm guessing about 22 gauge?) and peeled off 3 of the strands. I twisted them together, tinned it, and used it to bridge both gaps in the ribbon cable.
    CIMG2980.JPG
    Now, you can't see in the picture, but I burned a hole right through the ribbon cable trying to tin the copper so I could attach the wires. This stuff is paper thin! I was a production solderer for 8 years soldering SMT components on a daily basis, but this was one of the most challenging jobs I've ever done. I used a Weller WTCPT production station with a PTS8 tip. If you don't know what any of that is, please do not attempt this repair!
    CIMG2982.JPG
    Finally got them both connected. Continuity was checked with my Fluke. Good to go.

    Now to reassemble: CIMG2987.JPG Be sure to run the ribbon cable back through the slot in the plastic ring, then snap it back on.
    CIMG2991.JPG I slowly wound the cable back into the housing. See that spike of plastic sticking up? That indexes to the inner hub here:
    CIMG2990.JPG
    Ensure that the inner hub is going to line up correctly:
    CIMG2988.JPG Snap it back together. Slowly spin it and see that nothing is binding, and check continuity again.
    CIMG2993.JPG Slowly turn the inner hub until you can see the orange disc in the window, and the arrows below line up:
    CIMG2995.JPG
    Now it is centered and ready to install on the car, assuming you pulled the steering wheel with the tires pointed directly ahead.
    CIMG2994.JPG No orange disc means it is not centered. Carefully spin the inner hub ring until it appears.

    So for about an hours worth of time, I saved $213.68 plus shipping (cheapest dealership I could find was Olathe Toyota in Kansas City). I'm just happy I can use the defrost without having to push buttons on the MFD when it is cold outside.
    If my repair eventually fails, I'll post back.
     
  2. TampaPrius.com

    TampaPrius.com Active Member

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  3. mswtoyota

    mswtoyota Member

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    Thanks for the info, I didn't realize they were that cheap.
    I have no clue how the wires in the MIDDLE of the cable broke, but it looks like they either rubbed as the cables slid past each other, or that they got hot. Seeing as how the circuit is probably low current, I doubt it was the latter. There was some kind of grease inside the clock spring, I wonder if it slowly ate through the plastic somehow? Any recalls from Toyota on clock spring grease?
    I also hunted all over looking for a schematic, but the best I could find is only of the radio buttons on the left side of the steering wheel:
     

    Attached Files:

  4. mswtoyota

    mswtoyota Member

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    Well, it lasted for a while, but now my defrost and info buttons don't work again. :( Ebay here I come.
     
  5. depriusoto

    depriusoto Member

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    Found this part number for my 2009
    84204 47010
     
  6. yups

    yups Junior Member

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    Planned obsolescence; My 06 Prius is now needing its second clock spring as well as a several thousand dollar brake accuator/accumulator. On top of that all the clear coat on the car has givin way. Its too bad.
     
  7. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Wow ... I think I remember seeing these pictures when first posted, but I hadn't been inside my own clockspring yet so I didn't notice how different this looks. In my Gen 1 it's dead simple: just a spool with about 5 yards of ribbon cable that wraps umpteen times all the way around, so it moves by a very small evenly-distributed fraction as the wheel makes its maximum 5 turns lock-to-lock.

    But this Gen 2 thing looks like it has a much, much shorter ribbon, and some kind of baffling roller arrangement? No rollers in mine.... Or does this just have a lot more ribbon wound up where I don't see it, outside of those rollers? Does it change direction around those rollers? That seems like it would fatigue the cable a lot more than the older design. Am I missing something?

    -Chap
     
  8. kammssss

    kammssss Member

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    Be careful of the knock off clocksprings. I am on my 3rd one. The original one lasted over 200k. The first replacement lasted almost a year; it went bad after the steering wheel shaft recall. The second lasted a few months. Seller had a lifetime warranty and sent me a free replacement, which is the 3rd one. I replaced it to rectify my airbag warning light. It worked in my case. My suggestion: just get OEM because it deals with safety.
     
  9. Mikhail

    Mikhail New Member

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    I see in my clock spring one of the ribbon cables is longer then the other. how did you put them back together inside the clock spring enclosure ?
     
  10. Kenny94945

    Kenny94945 Active Member

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    That was a fantastic DIY repair!
    I wish you luck that the black tape protection lasts.

    Really awesome repair!
     
  11. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    For anyone else joining this old thread late, be sure not to miss post #8 reporting that the repair lasted 43 days. A spiral cable is a part that sees a lot of motion, and such a tricky delicate repair is a lot of work for a 43 day payoff.

    Props to the OP for doing the original work to learn that, and the good photos, and also for making the followup post so we know it might not be worth repeating the effort.

    -Chap

    duplicate

    duplicate
     
    #11 ChapmanF, Jun 9, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 9, 2016
  12. Betelheize

    Betelheize Junior Member

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    Can anyone provide photos of steering wheel removal? I am going to repair the wiring myself.

    Thanks,
     
  13. mswtoyota

    mswtoyota Member

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    Well, the $25 ebay clock spring that I bought last year lasted a little over 1 year before it failed. No lights in the steering wheel, and defrost and info buttons were the first to go. Now almost no button on the wheel works, and there is an "open in airbag squib circuit B" airbag light on. I'm starting to see a trend here....
    I also see there is now a 1 year warranty on the ebay clock spring! Oh yipee.
    My dad's voice and "you get what you pay for" are echoing through my head....
     
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  14. exstudent

    exstudent Senior Member

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    $25 eBay Chinese imitation junk vs $200 Genuine OEM part.
    Saving money is a good thing, but at what cost?

    People, don't cheap out on the clockspring/airbag connector. I'm sure you life is woth the extra $175?
     
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  15. mswtoyota

    mswtoyota Member

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    People, don't cheap out on the clockspring/airbag connector. I'm sure you life is woth the extra $175?[/QUOTE]
    The way Takata airbags are going now, it might save your life if it doesn't go off! Besides, I'm well insured and my wife could have a heck of a shopping spree...
    I just ordered another $25 from the A-store
     
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  16. Paul Schenck

    Paul Schenck Active Member

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    I’m going to attempt a swap from my 2006 parts vehicle, to my 2005. I’m going to follow the instructions in my Haines Manual for the removal or the steering wheel. Hope I get the pictures to help others.
    My steering wheel is 20 degrees off because when I replaced the engine I had some trouble connecting it. I wonder if I can fix both problems with one repair?
    See you on the other side.


    iPhone ?
     
  17. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Takata's not the only airbag manufacturer out there. I remember taking a look at my Gen 1's airbags specifically to see who made them (Daicel Safety Systems, it turned out).

    Weirdly, I've had my Gen 3's steering wheel and dash off at least once each, and I don't think I ever stopped to read the labels on those airbags.
     
  18. donbright

    donbright Active Member

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    the guy from Boulder Hybrid posted somewhere on here about problems with counterfeit clockspring industry.

    interesting thing is that some of them were literally printing fake Toyota logos on their parts boxes and misrepresenting the product as OEM when it wasnt.
     
  19. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    A lot of the counterfeit XHorse Mini VCI cables are advertised and packaged as XHorse Mini VCI cables.

    It would be an odd, half-hearted sort of counterfeiter who didn't go all in.
     
  20. dipstick22

    dipstick22 Junior Member

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    Just picked up on this thread about a year later. 2008 Prius, 226,000 miles. I can select the defrost output on the system but the air comes from upper vents, not the defrost vents. ChapmanF - you commented on my posts the other day on that. Now my cruise control button will not enable the feature. My first thought is that the two problems might be related. I just tried the cruise control button while turning the steering wheel clockwise from 12 to 1 to 2 etc. No change. But when I turned it counterclockwise from 12 to 11, the cruise control button worked. So I now suspect I have a clock spring spiral cable problem.

    But the question of the defrost is different. Defrost can be activated from the steering wheel and from the display. In both cases, the lights/indicators show Defrost activated, but the air blows from the upper vents. Is it possible that a ribbon cable problem would prevent the screen display defrost selector from working?
     
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